Like pretty much any other gaming company this year, Electronic Arts is not having a good 2020. Madden 21 is out this week, and it’s not being received too well.
EA has a deal worth billions of dollars with the NFL, that way the EA games are the only way for fans to play officially licensed sim video games. One would hope that this would lead to better games, but that has not been the case. Players and fans have complained for years about issues with EA sports titles. There has been little innovation, tons of bugs, lots of optimization issues, and so much more going on here. Fans have also complained about a more complex Franchise mode being skipped out in recent years in favor of Ultimate Team and aggressive monetization.
This weekend with the launch, there was a major outburst on social media among fans around Madden 21. The “#NFLDropEA” tag went trending in the U.S. and there were tons of examples of things that fans found that were emblematic of the problems with the game. Here are some of those tweets:
These tweets and so many more pointed out hilarious and frustrating bugs. Others took the time to express their despair at the state of the NFL games after all these years, missing the years of early Madden titles and off-shoot games like NFL Blitz.
What this illustrates is that there are serious issues over at EA with the handling of the franchise. Sure, 2020 has been a heck of a year and likely disrupted QA processes for this game in particular, but there are clearly substantive issues with crunch and design mentality that are also at play here. You don’t get to this kind of a broken mess out of the blue. Some of the bugs highlighted here are likely to be patched, but there are deeper issues than a simple patch can fix. What do I mean? Let’s throw things down to softdrinkTV on YouTube who created a video highlight all of the useful features and elements that EA has stripped from the franchise over the years. And this is just the stuff that was in Franchise Mode from before Madden 05 in most cases.
And of course the scores from users have been just as savage as the tweets. There have been few kind words said about these games on Metacritic. The PC version has a user score of 1.2 at the time of writing, with PS4 enjoying a score of 0.4. So in short, things are not looking good.